Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Since 2005, Goodman has been actively engaged in the development and implementation of Assurance of Learning procedures, with the guidance of the Learning Assurance Committee and the Dean’s Office. With each assessment cycle there has been a greater understanding of the Assurance of Learning requirements, improved processes, and increased engagement of the faculty.
Since that time the Assurance of Learning process has continued and subsequent iteration of closing the loop has resulted in a much stronger Assurance of Learning program going forward. A clearer and more widespread understanding of Assurance of Learning requirements has been achieved through the participation of department chairs and committee participation in AACSB and other on-site training programs. These initiatives have helped to solidify the program, and to further engage faculty members.
Establishing the Assurance Of Learning Program – 2005-2008
In 2005 the Learning Assurance Committee, with departmental representation and chaired by the Associate Dean, Undergraduate, was established to begin design and implementation of an Assurance of Learning program. Based on a Faculty-wide survey, three learning goals were ranked as important to all programs, and rubrics were developed for assessment purposes in 2006. The three learning goals identified were Communications (Writing), Problem Solving and Critical Reasoning. Assessment began with faculty volunteering on an ad-hoc basis, which resulted in a variety of courses being assessed in different programs and levels. This was designed to increased faculty awareness of, and involvement in the newly developed Assurance of Learning process.
Learning Assurance – 2006-2008
From 2007 to 2008, data collection and analysis took place with respect to the learning goals with written communication started as a pilot case. In 2008, problem solving and critical reasoning were added to the Assurance of Learning program and assessed along with written communication. During the assessment process faculty feedback was requested and the rubrics were revised and the Assurance of Learning process continued.
The assessment of management specific knowledge was also considered, and after vetting by the Learning Assurance Committee, it was decided that a pilot test of the ETS Major Field Test in Business (MFT) would give the committee more information on the validity and usefulness of the test. However, due to logistical issues, the MFT was not implemented during this time.
Assurance of Learning – 2009-2012
With the initial implementation of the Faculty’s Assurance of Learning program well underway, the next cycle resulted in ongoing improvements to the program throughout the periods of 2009-2012. These initiatives are briefly described below:
Assessment of Learning Goals and Objectives 2010 to 2012
Assessment of the updated learning goals and objectives took place from spring 2010 to fall 2012. Using the program map developed in 2010, the Assurance of Learning Committee determined that most skills were taught and practiced in first and second year courses. Consequently, it was decided that upper level courses would be the best place to assess the level of student learning at the program level.
Upper level courses, where specific learning goals could be assessed, were identified by survey and an assessment map of the required courses for each program was developed. The assessment map was readjusted over time, in some instances, to ensure that the requirements of sample size could be met. By the end of 2012, approximately 30 percent of faculty had participated in data collection.
In 2011 the Dean established a number of sub-committees of the FOB Advisory Board to increase the Board’s involvement in a variety of areas including Accreditation. This subcommittee was trained in the purpose and process of Assurance of Learning so they could participate in reviewing the learning goals and objectives. Also, during this time, following a strategy that was introduced in 2008, two student representatives (one undergraduate and one graduate student) were included in the Learning Assurance Committee membership.
The Learning Assurance Committee then decided to host a pilot test for students on a volunteer basis. Testing began in 2010, the results were assessed by the Learning Assurance Committee, and testing resumed in 2011.
Through participating in ongoing training, the Learning Assurance Committee identified new areas of focus for our current Assurance of Learning process and encouraged the Faculty to expand assessment related training seminars to include on-campus seminars available to all faculty, student groups, and the Faculty Advisory Council. The Faculty hired an external trainer who came to campus to facilitate two days of three hour Assurance of Learning seminars. Approximately six weeks later, the Associate Dean also held a similar training session for all of the Faculty’s support staff to ensure that everyone in the Faculty had a similar level of understanding of our Assurance of Learning program.